Apology made, agreement reached
Kanchai ‘Noom’ Kamnerdploi.
Netizens are unhappy with TV presenter Kanchai "Noom" Kamnerdploi for hastily settling a defamation row with police, after earlier criticising their handling of a rape case.
Noom opened up about the drama last week after a police investigator who took umbrage at his remarks agreed to withdraw the suit, which was due to go before the Rayong court on Thursday.
Pol Lt Col Mitrchai Singkhan, a special investigator with Rayong provincial police, had taken defamation action against Noom after he criticised police handling of the rape case on his Channel 8 variety show Pakpong.
Noom and his girlfriend, May Feuangarom, visited Pol Lt Col Mitrchai at the station late last month to apologise for remarks he made on the show.
They reached a settlement in which Noom agreed to issue an apology on air the next day, and Pol Lt Col Mitrchai agreed to drop his defamation action.
Noom found himself in trouble after taking the side of a mother and her autistic daughter who had laid a complaint of child rape with the Rayong police last November.
The mother went to the media in January, complaining police had been too slow to act. Pol Lt Col Mitrchai is in charge of the case, though wasn't named on air.
Noom invited the mother and her daughter on to the show on Jan 11. Both were wearing disguises to protect their identities.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had complained to police on Nov 13 that her daughter, now 18 and enrolled at a special needs school in the province, was raped repeatedly by two of the school's teachers.
She said the attacks started four years ago and had carried on after the most recent incident in November when the girl, threatening to take her own life, finally told her what happened.
She told Noom that after she went to the media to complain, Pol Lt Col Mitrchai started legal action against her.
"One of the teachers is still at the school, and I'm too scared to send my daughter back there to study," she said.
"I sell goods for a living and don't have much money. I went to the police after consulting my elder sister.
"While the school has kept me informed every step of the way, the police have not treated us well."
The officers who took her complaint were sceptical, she said.
"One threw a stapler on the desk and asked, 'How big was the teacher's penis compared to that?"' she said.
A doctor who examined her daughter confirmed she had been raped over an extended period.
Police said that, contrary to the mother's claims, they were moving on the case. The two accused teachers surrendered shortly after the mother laid her complaint, and were released without bail.
On Dec 25, police sent the file to prosecutors, who were preparing to lay indictments against the pair.
Noom, who produces and presents the show, told viewers he couldn't understand how the police could sue the victim's mother, as they were supposed to help the public, not persecute them in their time of need.
In April, Pol Lt Col Mitrchai started defamation action against Noom.
Now, two weeks after settling the case, the presenter admits he was too outspoken.
"I didn't refer to anyone personally, as I heard only one side of the story. I said this life is pretty awful when a mother complains to police her daughter was raped, but the police end up suing her," he said.
"Whether I am right or wrong is not the point. If I upset someone, I must apologise."
Netizens, however, say Noom should have stood his ground rather than caving to threats of legal action.
"Why apologise? Don't you have a point of principle to stand on? You helped someone in distress who has discovered she cannot rely on the law. Why are you so scared?" one critic wrote at the Manager/ASTV website.
"Police have to work honestly for Thais, and should attempt to emphathise with the victim," another said.
"You're from the media and should stand your ground. If you act like this, it'll only make the police more wicked," wrote another.
The rape case is now before the court.
Never lovers, just friends
Pongsak ‘Aof’ Rattanaphong and Akrin ‘Art’ Chaikaewskulchai, inset.
Singer Pongsak "Aof" Rattanaphong, has some tough advice for an up-and-coming singing star who claims the two were once an item.
Singer Akrin "Art" Chaikaewskulchai, from KPN Music, claims he and Aof were once boyfriends, but fell out. He said his new single, Jom, is an attempt to make up to the gay Grammy singer, though he won't be drawn on their chances of getting back together.
Unimpressed, Aof denies the two were ever in a relationship, and urged Art not to try to cash in on his name.
"We're just friends who happen to be singers," he said. "We were never an item. He may regard me as an inspiration for his song, but he can't claim he is attempting to appease me, because we were never together.
"Art is a good singer. If a song can't survive on its merits, he shouldn't try to cite my name in the hope it will do better."
Aof has enjoyed little good news on the boyfriend front since last April, when he took the wraps off a poorly kept secret to declare he was gay.
Shortly after, Aof said he was seeing someone, and showed off a ring that an admirer had given him.
A month later, Aof said he had ended the pairing after discovering the man for whose sake he came out of the closet had charged up unauthorised spending on his credit card.
He is now seeking to recover his injured pride in court, where he is pursuing his ex-boyfriend, who he has not named, for a bill of almost 1million baht.
"I'm doing it not because I hope to get the money back, but to set an example. This man makes a living from swindling people, and many other victims have since come forward," he said.
Aof said the accused had refused to turn up for court-ordered mediation sessions and he was now determined to fight the case to the end. The court is likely to deliver judgement next year.
A little something tucked away
Actress Bongkot "Tak" Bencharongkul's newborn child has 1.2 billion baht waiting for him in a bank account when he grows up, according to unsourced reports.
Bongkot ‘Tak’ Bencharongkul and her son.
News from the gossip press last week said Tak's husband, billionaire Dtac founder Boonchai Bencharongkul, had opened an account for their young son, who was born on Sept 8.
Nicknamed Khao Hom, the child entered the world by caesarian section, weighing an impressive 4.1kg.
"Khao Hom is born with a gold spoon in his mouth!" the reports crowed.
The happy couple, who have released pictures of their young son to the media, have yet to confirm or deny the story.
Mr Boonchai, who gave his wife a 100-million-baht marriage dowry, married Tak in March.
While most netizens have wished the couple well as they embark on the adventure of parenthood, some have warned them against showering the child with too many riches.
"Don't forget to instil a sense of moral virtue in the child. If you bring up the child with materialistic values, those who will end up in the most distress are the child's own parents. I've seen it so many times with rich kids," one advised.